By Courtney Trenwith
Gov’t is set to increase fees for expats using public health services to encourage them out of the system
Medical fees are set to soar for expatriates in Kuwait after the government said it would raise them for public hospitals and health facilities.
Health Ministry under-secretary Dr Khalid Al Sahalawi said expats were clogging the public health system and causing long backlogs for x-ray and laboratory services, Kuwait Times reported.
The exact rise had not been confirmed but a report had been delivered to the Health Minister.
However, Al Sahalawi said fees would remain below the private sector.
“Medical services for expats in all government sector facilities will be 20 percent less than the private sector, while there are services that will be free including emergencies and accidents,” he was quoted as saying.
He also said the health insurance hospitals company would build three hospitals and 15 health centres specifically for expats to discourage them from attending public hospitals.
The government announced six new hospitals a decade ago but is yet to complete any.
The fee increase comes two years after the country introduced designated times that expats could attend some public health facilities, limiting them to the afternoon.
Expats are often targeted in Kuwaiti government policy as the country has struggled to cope with the influx of people straining public infrastructure including roads, schools and hospitals, as well as housing.health tips & news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Again Kuwait shoots from the hip! Before any legislation like this is enacted, those 'expat' hospitals must be completed. With Kuwait spending 2BN KD on sending its nationals overseas for healthcare, it is apparent that government officials that used these perks to satisfy their constituencies have little interest in expediting hospital projects inside the country. If Kuwait sets up these expat hospitals to an acceptable standard then this is viable solution to ban expats from government healthcare systems. But what Kuwait and other GCC countries should do is to set up a government health insurance scheme where their nationals can seek qualified healthcare overseas under an insurance plan which would save the State a lot of money. Healthcare in Kuwait is at a low standard currently and residents whether local or expat prefer to seek healthcare overseas because it is inadequate and until malpractice is initiated to control the incompetency's of market, patients will opt to go abroad.